New Program Targets Underserved Populations
June 1, 2010, Oak Brook, Illinois, USA – Lions Clubs International Foundation is launching a new partnership with Essilor International to support comprehensive uncorrected refractive error (URE) services. The partnership will develop, expand and strengthen sustainable systems that target underserved populations through high-quality, low-cost programs as well as branch into other areas of joint interest.
It is estimated by the World Health Organization that more than 158 million people worldwide are visually impaired and 8 million people are blind due to uncorrected refractive error. Refractive error can be corrected with a pair of eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.
The two organizations plan to leverage funding and expertise through the partnership program. Lions and Essilor will identify institutions in areas with significant blindness prevention needs and a lack of URE service capacity. Action plans will be developed in consultation with local Lions. The plans will be presented to SightFirst for funding; Essilor will provide access to low-cost equipment and on-staff expertise, with initial pilot programs over the next year in select African countries.
“Essilor International is excited to embark on a new long-term partnership with LCIF. Essilor's corporate mission, helping mankind "See the World Better," fundamentally complements the core mission of LCIF to fight against blindness,” said Hubert Sagnières, CEO of Essilor International. “Combatting uncorrected refractive errors not only addresses the goals of the Vision 2020, designed by the World Health Organization, but also enables beneficiaries of our future shared actions to enjoy a “Better Life Through Better Sight.” Essilor and LCIF team together now and in the future to bring improved vision and a more meaningful life to those who are visually impaired.”
Essilor will also offer Lions Clubs International an exclusive brand-quality lens at an affordable price that can be used for Lions humanitarian purposes worldwide.
“LCIF and Lions have a long history of working with Essilor, and we are excited to expand this partnership into new areas. The Lions-lens will provide affordable lenses and glasses to previously underserved, low-income people,” said Al Brandel, LCIF Chairperson.
The Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers will also benefit, as Essilor will provide the centers with guidelines, technical assistance and funding to implement up-to-date, effective recycling practices. This will improve the efficiency and sustainability of the centers while demonstrating Lions’ concern and support for best practices in recycling.
Lions have a long-standing relationship with Essilor. Essilor provides in-kind product donations for Opening Eyes, Lions’ partnership program with Special Olympics. More than 85,000 athletes worldwide have received prescription eyeglasses over 10 years through the program.
About Lions Clubs International Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world with 1.35 million members in 206 geographic areas and countries. LCIF was ranked by a Financial Times' study as the number one non-governmental organization with which to partner. Through SightFirst, LCIF has restored sight or saved the vision of 30 million people. Learn more about LCIF at www.lcif.org.
Essilor Vision Foundation is a public charity established by Dallas, Texas, USA-based Essilor of America, the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States. The foundation’s mission is to eliminate poor vision and its lifelong consequences.
Essilor strives to give children a brighter future by helping them see the world more clearly. Programs focus on improving the quality of school vision screenings so few children slip through the cracks, providing eye exams and eyeglasses free of charge to children who would not get them otherwise, and educating partners and communities about the importance of children’s vision care and role it plays in literacy, society, and the economy.